Friday 17 December 2021

Shag and Brent behaving as expected.......well, almost!

Calm to very light NE breeze. Sunshine for most of the day

First of all, a day in the life of a Brent. These tides are much better for them, and I didn't see them spooked once by dog walkers, when they were near the children's play area. I know some regular post readers have passed on the message to their friends, thank you for that.
Pale-bellied Brent goose 35
Red Nab - today's high water at 8.6m is ideal for them here. The water is high enough to float the gut weed, but doesn't get high enough to flush them off (tomorrow's tide at 8.8 is similar, although might eventually force them off). At 09:50 there were 27 feeding including the Canadian ringed birds, they are at the end of this clip.

Half Moon Bay - 11:50 Janet saw these 27 fly in from the south, presumably when they left Red Nab.
Brent coming in to Half Moon Bay rocks
They headed for the rocks with gut weed

Children's Play area north of Knowlys Road. There was a 20+ group feeding just out from the play area when I went out on the skear at 14:00.There were two in the skear corner for a while, but on my return they had gone. I didn't see any instances of the birds being flushed from the play area. When I was walking back (15:30) they were closer to the wall than I have ever seen them. Even so they held their ground on three occasions when I saw dog walkers passing by between them and the wall, with their pets to heel. When I got closer, I managed to count 35, this clip shows just how close to the promenade they were. The blue/red ringed birds are at the beginning of this clip, and you can see how, in certain lights, the white lettering on the blue ring makes it appear to be a white ring.

There is no reason not to expect a similar pattern tomorrow, although they will do very well not to be flushed from around the play area on a dry mild Saturday. But if they do, they won't go far.

Second - part of the day in the life of a......
Shag 1 juvenile, probably 2
This report from Tim Woodward:

I spent just over an hour either side of high tide at Throbshaw this morning. The Shag arrived and hung around for a little more than 5 minutes close in front of the rocks (I saw 3 dives), then flew off towards Sunny Slopes. The phone photo is timed at 10.23. Sorry it’s so poor, but the others are no better. A pair of merganser drifted past and into the Bay at around 9.30. Otherwise very quiet 

Although Tim's shot does not show the Shag very clearly,
it does provide a clear view of the location, this is the very
northern tip of Throbshaw Point

I had a walk past just after Tim's sighting and located (another?) Shag much further south near the rocks on the north side of Half Moon Bay at 09:45, again it didn't stay long, but I missed which way it flew off. It may have been the same bird, having returned from Sunny Slopes. Anyway, there is another opportunity around tomorrow's high water (10:45), but you may need to be patient, but also keep an eye on the whole stretch from Half Moon Bay to Throbshaw Point, not easy with just one pair of eyes. Any records tomorrow will be interesting, even if you check and see nothing (MD)

14:26. 1 was resting on Conger Rock with a Cormorant, the Shag is always the lower bird.

14:30. 1 fishing west of the skear, conger rock now deserted.

Other stuff from the skear 

Great Crested Grebe 6 - these are four of them, although two quickly disappear 

Red-breasted Merganser 2 (pair)
Eider c150
Little Egret 5
Oystercatcher 2,000+
Knot c500
Redshank c130

Curlew c30

Turnstone c40

Dunlin 35+ there was this small group of 35 plus several individuals. One of the two birds at the end of this clip has a metal ring.